Prince Harry Steps Out Solo for a Cause Close to His Heart — and with a Tie to Wife Meghan Markle

The dad-to-be, a veteran who served in Afghanistan, attended the Veterans' Mental Health Conference

London Celebrity Sightings - March 14, 2019
Photo: Ian Lawrence/GC Images

Prince Harry is continuing his work to further the discussion on veterans and their mental well-being.

The soon-to-be father, 34, attended the Veterans’ Mental Health Conference organized by the King’s Centre for Military Health Research on Thursday. Harry, wearing a sharp blue suit and coordinating tie, joined mental health practitioners as well as researchers to share evidence and ideas regarding the best ways to support these heroes.

Although Meghan, who is due in late April, stayed home, Harry’s outing did have a special tie to his wife. It took place at King’s College London, where just last week the Duchess of Sussex participated in a panel in honor of International Women’s Day, an issue close to her own heart.

Meghan, 37, also spoke with a group of students and leaders at King’s College London as part of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) to discuss the importance and impact of higher education back in December. The royal mom-to-be, who has spoken out about the importance of education, announced a month later that the ACU would be one of her four initial patronages.

The Duke Of Sussex Attends Veteran's Mental Health Conference
Prince Harry. Gareth Fuller/WPA Pool/Getty
The Duke Of Sussex Attends Veteran's Mental Health Conference
Prince Harry. John Phillips/Getty

Harry, a veteran who served in Afghanistan, founded the Invictus Games, a Paralympics-style competition, four years ago to honor veterans and wounded service members around the world.

He spoke candidly about his personal experience to a crowd of thousands gathered at the 2018 Invictus Games’ closing ceremony in Sydney, Australia, back in October.

“What they are achieving isn’t impossible nor is it magical,” Harry said of the athletes. “You have seen it happen before your very eyes because these competitors have made it happen. They are men and women who have confronted a challenge and overcome it. They are ordinary people doing extraordinary things… That is something we can all aspire to.”

The Duke Of Sussex Attends Veteran's Mental Health Conference
Prince Harry. Gareth Fuller/WPA Pool/Getty

Then the prince started to get personal.

“Nowhere is that truer than in the area of mental health,” he insisted. “By simply being here and fighting back from some of the darkest experiences known to anyone, you have become role models for everyone at home or in the stands who might be struggling with their emotions or with a mental illness… You are showing it’s okay not to be okay. And most importantly, you are showing us all that it’s okay to ask for help.”

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To conclude, he referred to himself as someone who has faced such challenges.

“I’ve been there, you’ve been there, and we now need to reach out to those who can never even imagine themselves in that place,” he encouraged. “When you accept a challenge is real, you can have hope. When you understand your vulnerability, you can become strong. When you are brave enough to ask for help, you can be lifted up. You can start living, doing, feeling — not simply surviving.”

Harry — along with Prince William and Kate Middleon — has championed mental health issues through his work with the Royal Foundation’s “Heads Together” project, which aims to promote a national conversation on the topic.

“The Duke is helping to address so many issues around mental health in this country,” said Dr. Charles Winstanley, who works with Contact, the military community mental health coalition which assists veterans. “Not just with the armed forces, our veterans and service personnel but through the Royal Foundation and Heads Together, he is changing the conversation.”

“Anyone speaking to him will know he is hugely passionate about the subject,” he continued. “Young people are more willing to discuss how they feel and the Duke is tapping into that perfectly, together with his brother they are formidable.”

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